Authoritarian follower

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Overview

The authoritarian follower is one of the two main types of authoritarian mindset personality. This type of personality generally has the following traits (source: The Authoritarians):

  • a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in their society
  • high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities
  • a high level of conventionalism
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In the United States, authoritarian followers tend to be conservative and tend to belong to the Republican Party. In other countries, they may follow whatever political party has the air of being the most "proper" or "traditional", or they may simply align themselves with whichever party seems to be the dominant political force.

Authoritarian followers generally prefer to subordinate themselves to a large organization within which they have little or no power. This is most commonly a work situation, though there are other suitable environments such as volunteering for a church, belonging to a society, etc.

Terminology

  • a "sheep" is general term for an authoritarian follower, especially one who does not take any active role and is not in any way easily distinguishable from others who are doing similar work (especially if s/he is easily replaceable)
  • a "team player" specializes in subordinating her/his opinions to those of their superior(s). Although the literal meaning of the term is positive – indicating the ability to accept that one's own ideas are not always the best, and that the team's productivity is more important than recognition for one's own contributions – it has been abused by authority figures to the point where the main job of a "team player" is to go along with what her/his superiors say.
  • a "drone" quietly performs a task which is typically dull or repetitive and not involving any significant amount of thought
  • a "shill" takes an active role in promoting the agenda of her/his superior(s), e.g. by stating as fact disinformation the superior wants people to believe
  • a "toady" takes an active role in identifying others who are insufficiently subordinate
  • a "crony" is an authoritarian follower who is actively collaborating with a corrupt "superior" for personal gain
  • a "yes man" (most commonly male but sometimes female) always enthusiastically agrees with suggestions made by a superior, sometimes even when the suggestion carries a high degree of risk that it will hurt the superior if carried out. Part of the "yes man"'s job is to take the blame for mistakes made by the superior.